Next Tuesday, August 11, Wisconsin primaries will take place across the state. In the Clark County area, District 69 of the Wisconsin State Assembly will see four names on the ballot—three Republicans and one Democrat. In the straight party voting, voters may only vote within one party affiliation.
There are two candidates, both Republicans, for the office of Clark County Treasurer. Following is a brief profile of the candidates.
Michael V. Smith is a Republican from Loyal.
With his wife Jeannie, they have three sons and seven grandchildren. Smith owns several businesses in the area including a restaurant-motel, 40 rentals, the Hilltop Bar & Grill, Destiny Trucking, Mad Hatter Pyrotechnics and more. He worked for 12 years as a plant managerand used to be a municipal court judge. He has a background in law enforcement as officer and police chief. He has owned and operated a dairy farm. He also reports a background in drug and alcohol counseling and holds two law certificates.
Why is he running? Several things. “I semi-retired in 2018, so I have time. In addition to that, I discovered a few things about how Social Security, Medicare, and healthcare is going to work for me and the costs associated with that.” Listening to his school-teacher daughter-in-law, he says that he knew there were some areas that could use his help. “With my vast knowledge and background, I can make a difference.”
He believes that healthcare is next to impossible to afford on your own. Too many of our seniors are living in poverty. “Those issues have motivated me,” he concludes.
Donna Rozar is a Republican from Marshfield. She is a longtime member of the Wood County Board of Supervisors. She moved to the area in the 1980s with her husband and five adopted children. Her husband died in the 1990s from HIV-related illness brought about from his work as a cardiac surgeon. When her youngest child graduated, she returned to nursing in 2002. In 2003, she ran as Republican for the Senate and lost. Rozar has been on the Wood County Board since 2000. She says that she thought she would never run for state office again but was approached when Bob Kulp announced his retirement last year.
Got a Master’s degree after the death of her husband at Viterbo University in 2008 and taught nursing at UW Eau Claire. She retired from teaching in May of this year.
What issues got her back into state politics? “A unique set of work experiences. County government is an arm of the state. I have learned so much about county government and state cooperation. I have learned a lot about government.”
Rozar feels she has gotten much done in leadership roles in the county government. “I am industrious. Energetic. Passionate. I have never been shy. I am a fiscal conservative with my life and with taxpayers’ money.”
Campaigning has been a challenge during the pandemic. It has definitely been more laborious because I am such a people-person.
Tim Miller is a Republican from Stratford and is a 27-year law enforcement veteran. He has served the last four years as Police Chief in Stratford. Miller has been married for 20 years with three teenagers. He says that the pandemic has put a cramp in the family’s athletic activities and he worries about the effects of distancing.
What makes him a good candidate? His background prepared him “by being a listener.” Considers himself a problem-solver which he feels the Assembly needs. “I never thought I would go into politics but it is the next phase of community service,” he says.
What are the most important issues facing the state? COVID-19. He blames Governor Tony Evers for lack of information regarding how to deal with the original shutdown. “We could have opened the businesses sooner,” he opines. He is openly critical of the handling of the crisis. But his approach to the pandemic is harrowing. “I think that it is just going to have to work its way through the population…There’s going to be casualties but we can’t just shut down our lives.”
Another issue was mental health issues and the best ways to help with them. Drug abuse is another big topic. These two would set his legislative agenda for serving in Madison.
Roads in rural areas is on his mind for the biennial budget. He is completely against raising taxes, thinking that there is enough money in the state coffers for fixing Wisconsin roads.
Brian Giles is the lone Democrat and is from Marshfield. Giles attended UW River Falls and UW Marshfield for undergraduate studies. His professional experience includes working in sales and marketing.
“I was born and raised in this district and with my wife have raised our three boys here, as well. Like most of you, I'm not rich and never will be, unlike special interests that are currently controlling Wisconsin. I know what it's like to struggle, just as many of you have and some are right now. We need someone to vote for the well-being, the rights and lives of the people of this district.”
He priorities include fighting for the will of the people over special interest, that all registered voters should receive mail in ballots to protect their health and right to vote, and he believes in bipartisan fair districting maps.
“I am passionate about the legalization of medical marijuana and the decriminalization of marijuana,” he declares. He would like to serve on the Assembly committee on criminal justice “because I believe we need to decriminalize marijuana because there are great people behind bars who could be productive in society.”
Does he believe it’s beneficial to build relationships with other legislators? “Yes. I believe in order to get things done in Government you need to at least build relationships with a few people in the other party.”
Mary J. Domanico is the current Clark County Treasurer and says, “I know the job and what it entails.” She runs on her record saying that she has established procedures and practices that have minimized the risks of fraud, thus protecting the County’s assets.
Her plans for another term include lower delinquencies through helping taxpayers get caught up, setting up remote payment sites throughout Clark County, finding better processes to streamline the office and its operations, and to make the treasurer’s office as accessible and convenient as possible.
She has been endorsed by neighboring county treasurers and by Peggy Walter, Clark County Register of Deeds.
Renee Shoen is running against the incumbent Mary Domanico. Schoen has worked in the Treasurer’s Office for 18 years as the county tax solicitor.
Of herself, she says, “I enjoy working with taxpayers, assessors, surveyors, and the little companies that request my assistance. I believe I am the better candidate for the position because of my eighteen years of experience. Also because of my honesty, accuracy, patience, and kindness.”
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